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Neural regulation of human life processes – from the neuron to the behaviour. Interdisciplinary teaching material concerning the structure, function and clinical aspects of the nervous system for students of medicine, health and life sciences in Hungary

Hajnalka Ábrahám, Péter Ács, Mónika Albu, István Balás, András Benkő, Béla Birkás, László Bors, Bálint Botz, Árpád Csathó, Péter Cséplő, Valér Csernus, Krisztina Dorn, Erzsébet Ezer, József Farkas, Sándor Fekete, Ádám Feldmann, Zsuzsanna Füzesi, Balázs Gaszner, Csilla Gyimesi, István Hartung, Gábor Hegedűs, Zsuzsanna Helyes, Róbert Herold, Tibor Hortobágyi, Judit Horváth, Zsolt Horváth, Mária Hoyer, István Hudák, Enikő Illés, Gábor Jandó, Andrea Jegesy, János Kállai, Kázmér Karádi, Zsuzsanna Kerekes, Éva Kereszty, Ákos Koller, Sámuel Komoly, Bernadett Kovács, Norbert Kovács, Zsolt Kozma, Ferenc Kövér, Antal Kricskovics, Gábor Lenzsér, Tivadar Lucza, Emese Mezősi, Andrea Mike, Péter Motskó, Alexandra Nagy, Ferenc Nagy, Endre Pál, Iván Péley, Gábor Pethő, Andrea Pethőné Lubics, Zoltán Pfund, Erika Pintér, Zoltán Porpáczy, Gábor Pozsgai, Dóra Reglődi, Zoltán Rékási, Attila Schwarcz, Ágnes Sebők, Gábor Simon, Mária Simon, Katalin Sipos, László Szapáry, Júlia Szekeres, Tibor Szolcsányi, Andrea Tamás, Tamás Tényi, István Tiringer, Márton Tóth, Péter Tóth, Anita Trauninger, Zoltán Vámos, József Varga, Viktor Vörös, University of Pecs, Sámuel Komoly M.D., Dialóg Campus Publishing-Nordex Kft (2016)

University of Pecs; Dialóg Campus Publishing-Nordex Kft.

Chapter 6. 6. Personality, social relations

Chapter 6. 6. Personality, social relations

Table of Contents

6.a. Personality Development (filo- and ontogenesis), Types, Theories and Disorders. – Gábor Hegedűs [Translated by Tímea Németh, Translator-reviser: János Kállai]
1. Introduction
2. The definition of personality
3. The development of personality
4. Socialization, mother-child relationship, bonding
5. Psychoanalytical theory of personality
6. The crisis as development: psychosocial interactions - E. Erikson
7. Humanistic approach
8. The mature personality
9. Personality theories with regard to trait theories
10. Personality disorders
11. Summary
6.b. Anatomical and physiological background and disorders of the social behavior. – János Kállai [Translator-reviser: Árpád Csathó]
1. Preface
2. The neuroscientific approach to social relationships
3. The social brain
4. Global effects of local lesions on social behaviour
5. Brain lesion and social behaviour
6. Summary. The neuropsychological control system responsible for planning and execution
6.c. Neurobiology of the social relations. The neuropsychology of the antisocial disorders. – János Kállai [Translator-reviser: Árpád Csathó]
1. Introduction
2. Personality guide
3. Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
4. Conclusion
6.d. Neurobiology of the personality. Cognitive and neural disorders in background of the personality disorders. – János Kállai 33%, Róbert Herold 33%, Mária Simon [Translated by János Kállai, Translator-reviser: József Varga]
1. The personality
2. Personality disorders
3. Therapeutic interventions
4. Summary
6.e. Neurobiology of aging. The neuropsychology and testing thedementia. – Zsuzsanna Kerekes [Translated by Judit Szolcsányi, Translator-reviser: Zsuzsanna Kerekes]
1. Introduction
2. Major structural changes to the brain during ageing
3. Sensory changes
4. Changes to higher cognitive functions
5. Ageing and sleep
6. Dementias
7. The neuropsychological testing of dementias
6.f. Neuropsychological Impairments and Rehabilitation of Stroke. – Mónika Albu [Translator-reviser: János Kállai]
1. Definition and prevalence of stroke
2. Neuropsychological symptoms of stroke
3. Rehabilitation of neuropsychological symptoms occuring after stroke
4. Summary

6.a. Personality Development (filo- and ontogenesis), Types, Theories and Disorders. – Gábor Hegedűs [Translated by Tímea Németh, Translator-reviser: János Kállai]

1. Introduction

This chapter has two purposes: to demonstrate the development of personality and to take a closer look at the science of personality to find out which personality theories have significance in terms of doctor-patient relationship. This chapter aims to broaden the knowledge of medical students but will not offer detailed information on all aspects of psychology and personality. It will however help students to get an insight into an area of their interest through relevant theories and examples.

Personality development theories are still being debated by the scientific community even today and therefore will not be discussed further in this paper. Although many theories have attempted to define what personality is researchers have yet to reach an agreement, therefore there is no single definition. Its development is described by various models that provide insight from their own perspective. On the other hand, various perspectives provide a subtle picture.

2. The definition of personality

For some time now the concept of personality has been present in everyday conversations. The word itself comes from the Latin word persona which means mask. Human beings are the only creatures to have personalities and therefore there has always been a need to describe the surrounding world including social settings, other people and finding out what words describe other people the best. Personality plays an important role in many areas of life including assessing work aptitude, healing or finding a mate. We apply many different words to another person, for instance somebody may be considered appealing or admirable, but we usually forget that what we are really describing is their personality. Describing someone’s personality is an attempt to describe the essence of someone.

Allport’s (1961) definition: Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to the environment." According to this definition personality is a system of thinking, feeling and behaviour that defines the workings of an individual and his/her relationship with the environment. On the other hand personality is not a mere stack of elements but a system with dynamic organization which is stable and permanent in time, thus it is the base of our identity. (McCrae and Costa. 1988). An important factor is that personal behaviour has its roots within the person, there is a continuity and permanence within the individual with regard to the qualities (in psychology they are called personality traits.) The more basic a quality is the more effective it is in predicting an individual’s behaviour. When it comes to judging the personality of another person the fact whether we are capable of perceiving properly the other person’s qualities also has an important role. (Moskowitz, 1988). Personality is unique; there are no two individuals with identical personalities. People’s personalities vary to a great extent.

3. The development of personality

3.1. Phylogeny and ontogeny

The development of personality follows certain rules just like biological development. Personality is formed as a result of family and social influences during the process of socialization. Social influences have their effects through the individual’s environment. Personality is formed as the result of the interaction of external influences (connected to socialization) and internal (genetically determined) aptitudes, and with regard to its formation two main components can be identified: The phylogenetic and the ontogenetic component. Based on the phylogenetic aspect during evolution, racial characteristics are formed due to various environmental effects which - as they increase the chance for survival – they are further inherited (genetics) for example: thinking or sociability (the willingness to socialize) (Bereczkei 2003a). Our ancestors lived in communities where individuals were influenced by selective pressure in social environments (during evolution people were forced to adjust in order to solve new problems and ensure survival.) This encouraged the human mind to reach its current structure and operational method (Buss, 1995; Cosmides and Tooby, 1997, in details see: Bereckei 2003a). Later during the cultural evolution hierarchical relations required social adjustment and various coping strategies with social stressors (those phenomena that are related to stress creating partners). The ontogenetic component means the individual development of human beings from conception to complete development. As human beings are social creatures they are born into a social environment and interacting genetic and environmental factors starting from conception direct the individual into a predetermined direction.

3.2. Environmental influences

The environmental and social influences can support or hinder the development of a child’s genetic aptitudes. Due to differing social influences inherent abilities can manifest to varying degrees because the environment (the environment of socialization at home, the environment socialization in nurseries and schools, etc.) encourages the development of certain qualities while suppressing others.

3.3. Temperament

The temperament is the system of physical, biological and mental qualities of people, which determines the sensitivity and response to stimuli. Temperament is rooted in biology (genetics) (Buss and Plomin, 1984). It determines the expression of activity and emotionality. Personality traits are formed due to the interaction on temperament and social environment of the individual (Rothbart and Ahadi, 1994). However due to genetic influence the influence of temperament is more comprehensive than particular personality traits and it determines not only behaviour itself but also its implementations (Buss and Plomin, 1984). During the course of individual development the more similar a child temperament is to the home environment the more we can refer to healthy personality development. However, the influence of temperament is two tiered; certain environmental factors can be influenced by the child’s temperament thus it has an effect on the behaviour and attitudes towards the children of those who are in the child’s immediate environment (Strelau, 1998). During the course of development the expression of the inherited temperament firstly depends on early socialization then in adulthood more and more on learning from life experiences and behaviour required in different situations (Goldsmith and Campos, 1990). Adulthood is therefore mainly characterised by ever weakening genetic influence (Viken et al, 1994). Conclusions can only be drawn based on the interaction of the environment of socialization and the child’s inherited temperament concerning how healthy the course of the child’s personality development is. The genetic and environmental influences are summarized in Figure 1.

According to certain researchers temperament has three components. These are sociability, emotionality (sentimentality and emotional factors, emotional stability) and the level impulsivity-activity. The aforementioned sociability – which ultimately determines the expression of temperament – can be defined as the willingness to live together with others as well as avoidance of loneliness and in general the need for various social interactions and common activities. Sentimentality determines how much a person is prone to experiencing intensive or less intensive feelings and it also refers to the intensity of the generated excitement level and how easy it is to trigger a given emotion (Buss and Plomin, 1984). In the case of impulsivity it has been shown that it also has a genetic base (Pedersen et al). However, even though it is still debated it can be considered as one of the main components of temperament. The level of activity partly means the powerful energy demanding activities of the individual (for example sports activities). People with high activity levels put a lot of energy into all of their activities. On the other hand the activity level can also refer to the speed and pace of activities. People with high activity level perform their activities more quickly whereas people with lower activity levels act more calmly and at a leisurely pace (Buss and Plomin, 1984). In the case of the three personality dispositions which determine temperament a hereditary nature has been identified thus genetic effect can be detected with regard to the given personality trait. Concerning the activity level and sociability Loehlin et al (1985) whereas concerning emotional stability Eysenck és Eysenck (1985) identified genetic determination.

Figure 6.1. Figure 1.: Factors determining the operation of personality

Figure 1.: Factors determining the operation of personality

4. Socialization, mother-child relationship, bonding

4.1. The importance of mother-child relationship

In the development of personality - in addition to the aforementioned inherited genetic factors – the quality of mother-child relationship plays a vital role (including the course of pregnancy, the relationship between mother and her foetus), the bonding between mother and child and the happenings in early childhood overall the environment of early socialization. After delivery there is a sensitive period during which due to the formation of bonding it is very important that physical contact is formed between mother and child as soon as possible. However, from the viewpoint of the future of the relationship all of the periods of the lifespan are important and its quality cannot be attributed to one single period. The base of personality is formed during the early years. The most important aspects of mother and child relationship are emotional attachment, the mothers ability to react, her sensitivity with regard to her child in order to understand the child’s mental conditions and to be able to react positively to the various conditions and to relieve the tension accumulating in the child (to ease the related to the feeling of indisposition and crying) during the course of the care in the daily routine. During the course of care the mother’s non-verbal communication reflects how much she is able to be happy with the child and as the child is capable of interpreting non-verbal communication and social stimuli he/she immediately perceives that. In order to have a healthy development of personality it is important that the mother has a positive accepting loving emotional attitude, - which is visible on her face – and which is interpreted by the baby as a signal in connection with his/her own existence (good to have it (motherly smile) or not (motherly face)). During proper care the child learns that there is a way out of the problem at hand, the problems fade away and the child can rely on the mother who can help the child by changing the tone of the emotional reflection to regulate the emotional and physiological functioning. Thus during the course of care inner support gradually gets integrated into the child’s personality, an inner feeling of safety (an inner picture of the mother) which will accompany the child during his/her lifespan. This way the child adopts expectations with regard to life and others (generally about people) s/he learns what to expect from people in the world. Due to the mother’s behaviour the inner model formed in the child can determine for the rest of his/her life the relationship towards him or herself as well as to others (the formation of so called fundamental trust depends on that). In case of proper care the expectations towards others have a positive connotation and inner representations become stronger in the personality, which can provide support in bad conditions. When the experiences are unfavourable in this early age, the mother is not tuned properly to the child, if there is a disturbance in communication, love withdrawal or possibly physical abuse then it can lead to negative expectations, the weakening of inner representation and feelings of safety and in certain cases mental disturbances and psychopathological damages in the personality. The bad mental conditions can be badly tolerated alone by children (later adults). Due to the deficiency in mental regulation (for example there is low tolerance towards anxiety and stress and ability for low self control). In order to relieve the aforementioned conditions, the person employs either outside help (for example mental regulation with chemical substances such as alcohol, drugs or medication) or with deviant or even self harming behaviour.

4.2. Mother-child relationship

The infant is attached to the mother, the mother responds to that and they create a well coordinated series of transactions at best between the two of them (back and forth signals of communication). They mutually strengthen each other’s roles and satisfy each other’s physical emotional needs (of course physical needs are only satisfied by the mother) as in the course of their relationship the physical and emotional relationship is not only important to the infant but for the mother too. This process encourages the formation of bondage (Pulay K., 1997), the most important function is the maintenance of physical closeness. This is where safety derives from which is so important to the infant and where s/he can return after episodes of exploration. The infant actively regulates the distance within the relationship (by looking for and maintaining closeness) while s/he wants to reach those objects and stimuli which seem to be interesting. We can differentiate infants with “difficult” and “easy” temperaments. Infants with easy temperaments smile a lot, they are quick to adapt and can be calmed down reasonably quickly and they are also keen on physical closeness. That way they have a strengthening impact on the motherly role of their mothers. This results in the increasing feeling of motherly competence. Infants with difficult temperaments cry a lot, they are not so keen on physical closeness, they react too intensely to stimuli, their sleep is less regulated and they wake up more often. This results in the mother feeling less competent and she can experience anxiety and disappointment. On the other hand motherly chores can trigger mild or episodic anxiety in nearly every mother (especially in the case of firstborns) but this can be overcome by experiences strengthening the feeling of competence. Due to the mutual influence of socialization between mother and child suitably sensitive motherly care can alter the difficult temperament. Not suitable care can make the previously easy temperament turn into a difficult temperament.

The bonding pattern between mother and child, the temperament of the child, the behaviour of the mother and the interaction between them determines the personality development of a child. Based on modern infant observations the infant during the interaction with the mother plays an active role, initiates and reacts. With the help of the interaction – permanent and often repetitive in time - between the two of them, the child creates an inner representation of him or herself, the important other and the experience of existing which provides an inner safety and it provides a base for later relationships (Ajkay, 1996). The child also creates self beliefs (subconscious) for example “I can be loved even if I am not always good” or “whatever I do is bad and I cannot be loved”. S/he also creates inner representations (inner self image) with the help of bonding and interaction patterns.

As the infant at the beginning is not capable of survival alone the first year is about the formation of adaptation methods with regard to survival. The mother provides everything which is necessary to achieve this goal and the infant’s own inner conditions are entirely regulated by the mother at first, and then in accordance with the ongoing maturity outer regulation gradually becomes inner regulation (Figure 2.) The mother plays an important role in this too. For example, after a while the infant will take control over the sphincter muscles regulating urination and emptying the bowels and nappies are no longer needed. The reward of the development in this area is the motherly feedback as well as her presence reflecting positive emotions which encourages the rapid development of the child. Play activities are mixed with copying and at the same time with the forming self control the child identifies with the activity and it becomes important for him or herself to be capable of doing the activity. Around the age of three, self awareness develops and the child knows by then that it is him or her who does something while experiencing the feeling of “I am doing it” which represents the base for inner regulating functions. As a result of the mother’s disallowances – in two phases – an inner prohibition system develops (“it is not allowed” “don’t do this” etc.) and this mental prohibition system provides the base for moral conscience.

Figure 6.2. Figure 2.: Positive self regulating functions

Figure 2.: Positive self regulating functions

Figure 6.3. Figure 3.: Negative self regulating functions

Figure 3.: Negative self regulating functions

4.3. Bonding

Bonding is a congenital inclination which is based on evolution. The method of its development influences personality at later stages of life. The biological aim of the bonding system is the experience of safety which is realized through the homeostatic biosocial regulation and the emotional bonding, (see in subchapter 6.1.7. of the Maslow pyramid – Figure 11.). Bonding is a universal need. During care, the mother by tuning on her child makes the child relaxed if the child is under emotional tension and wound up and she reacts in a sensitive way to the child’s physiological needs. If there are severe deficiencies in these needs then the experience of safety gets weakened. Later from these bonding patterns various emotion regulating behaviour methods develop. The bonding pattern developing in the first year of life is especially important because the conflict managing inner working methods developing at this stage appear again at later critical stages. The bonding patterns are unique as there are no two identical infants or two identical mothers. The early relationships are mutual. For example, if the mother tunes in to her infant and successfully reduces the infant’s inner tension then she is rewarded with a smile from the baby and their relationship gradually deepens from these experiences. If the motherly tuning on is not appropriate in the first place then the infant’s feedback can make the mother even more uncertain in her role which can lead to the deterioration of their relationship.

4.4. Bonding at different stages of life

Bowlby (1969) separates several phases in a child’s bonding. In the stage of so called non differential bonding (0-2 months old) the new born is attached to anyone who satisfies his/her needs. In the stage of the so called non differential discrimination (2-7 months old) the newborn is attached mainly to his/her carer but s/he is also friendly towards other people. In the phase of differential bonding two stages can be identified; in the stage of specific differentiation (from 7 months to 2 years old) the infant is strongly attached to the mother (carer) and reacts to her signals (clings to her). In this period the quality of caring has primary importance. This is when a specific bonding develops towards the mother. The second stage is the stage of partnership (starting from 2 years old) when the outside world draws the attention of the child more and more, and the child doesn’t cling to the mother so tightly but the satisfaction of need remains very important for child. Aside from the mother the child is attached to other important people.

During the first year of life the child’s reaction to separation is protest and hopelessness. Bonding develops despite punishment (for example: abusing parent) or it even becomes stronger because the child tries to overcome his/her growing anxiety by bonding to the person more strongly from whom s/he can theoretically expect safety. Various types of bonding can be identified. Children with stable bonding trust their mother, they become restless when the mother leaves but when she returns they get calm. Children with uncertain bonding don’t want to let the mother go but if she still leaves the child is angry and when the mother comes back they are defiant and furious. The reactions of the so called “avoiding” are seemingly not influenced by the presence of the mother (Ainsworth and Wittig, 1969),[154] while they experience intensive physical distress. Bowlby identifies two types of deficiency in motherly care. On the one hand if the children do not have loving relationships with their mothers then by the time they grow up there is a danger of showing traits of psychopathy. If they had a loving relationship but they have lost it then it is possible that their personalities will be irreversibly damaged (Figure 4) but it depends on all of the relationship factors.

Figure 6.4. Figure 4.: The possible consequences of maternal maltreatment

Figure 4.: The possible consequences of maternal maltreatment

Dysfunctional moternal behaviour: in the background of exaggerated motherly worry the mother’s untenable hostile disposition toward the child can be observed quite often due to which she feels guilty and overreacts during care. Such a constant apprehensive motherly behaviour can lead to the bodily dysfunctions of the baby (eczema, abdominal spasm). If the mother is inconsistent and sometimes spoils and other times penalizes the child the child won’t trust her and cannot experience the feeling of being loved and an inner picture of the mother providing stability will not develop. If the mother is away permanently and there is no substitute mother available then the child will become depressed (melancholy, low mood, narrowed interests, apathetic facial expressions, inability of forming intensive emotional relationships, low pain threshold, etc.) for example in case of longer hospitalization. In the background of inadequate motherly behaviour it is often the passing down of the pattern from generation to generation which is to be blamed (transgenerational transmission). This means that the mother (or the father) did not experience parental treatment during childhood due to which s/he carries unprocessed mental trauma and it is passed down unintentionally. The crisis at the time in the family can also be in the background for example: the trauma of divorce, the mother is left alone with the child and depression makes her incapable of tuning onto her child properly.[155]

4.5. Levels of socialization

From the 1930s onward the discovery of the correlation between individual development and personality and environmental factors (for instance: child raising attitudes and the forming of the child’s characters in the future and the behaviour) began and socialization always takes place in a particular community (Baumrind, 1967), thus the psychological processes of the individual can only be understood by taking the surroundings of the individual into consideration (Segall et al, 1990). The interactionist theory of development was based on this principle. It says that the impacts of personality and the environmental factors add up and they are in permanent interaction with each other, hence the individual and the environment have a mutual effect on one another. In Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological model four levels are mentioned where the interactions take place. He extends the meaning of the word environment and he takes the influence of social systems overstretching the mother child relationship into consideration with regard to the development of the child. The micro system is the immediate social and physical environment (for example: a family) where direct socialization takes place. This is where the family interactions take place which – beside the parents belief system – have the biggest impact on the individual development of personality and is the most important in the environment. Interactions among the different micro systems belong to the mezosystem (for example: home, school, friends) which takes place among the given frames of development. This system is characterized by the impact of the belief system of teachers and close friends on the development of personality. The ecosystem means those areas of operation which can have an impact on the development of the individual but the individual does not take part directly (for example: the workplace of the parents, educational system). Events in the parents’ workplaces can have positive or negative impact on the child. If the parent is stressed out s/he can pass it down to the child through his/her behaviour but also success and good working environment can create a positive atmosphere. The macro system is the widest cultural context in which all the other system levels exist (e.g. historical influences, etc.) (Figure 5).

Figure 6.5. Figure 5.: Depiction of the interaction based developmental structure

Figure 5.: Depiction of the interaction based developmental structure

During the interaction between environment and individual every system has an impact on the psychological development of the individual and this is true for the newborn, as well. There is a difference with regard to the quality of the interaction among social strata due to different intellectual levels, educational levels, child raising habits, attitudes, belief systems. These are passed down from generation to generation and they have an impact on the forming personality of the child. Close family members demonstrate those patterns value systems and child raising attitudes which are characteristics of their thinking. These form the personality and the attitudes of the child (Bronfenbrenner, 1995) as every family member has an impact on the developmental direction of all of the other family members. Every family system is unique. It has its own characteristics and functioning methods. During the permanent cohabitation this creates a unique pattern which has an impact on the independence of family members, their emotional relations, opportunities and ability for adaptation as well as their assumption with regard to human relationships. Every family acts as a self-regulating system and the behaviour of the family members - based on a cycle – is the cause and effect of another family member’s behaviour. The self regulation is characterized by aiming to achieve a dynamic balance due to which if one of the family member’s behaviour jeopardizes the balance of the family system then the others try to put an end to this behaviour. However, this intention often amplifies that behaviour and it can result in the further weakening of the balance of the family system. Thus the intention of eliminating the problem can result in an adverse affect which the family members would have preferred avoiding. For example, as part of the macro system, historical influences and trends can guide younger generations to such direction of development of which their parents do not approve and which can cause conflict and opposition between generations and the disapproval of the parents, which can lead to the younger person’s move towards the disapproved behaviour. Let’s just think of the traditional parental attitudes and the more open minded attitude towards life which is the characteristic of today’s generations. Such and similar oppositions between generations can result in the appearance of deviant behaviours in extreme cases (Bronfenbrenner, 1995). On the other hand the relationship between culture and individual is a two way system. The individual can have an impact on the culture too and can be capable of achieving changes (Valsiner, 1989). It is worth mentioning the self socialization of the child, meaning that a person is capable of reflecting back to him or herself and choosing the most suitable medium for self socialization then reaching the goals s/he set for him or herself. However, the already developed personal beliefs diminish the process of self socialization. In adolescence the newly arisen need for identity seeking encourages adolescents for active self socializations. For this purpose the use of media community networks (TV, internet, etc.) are particularly suitable due to gathered information. Thus the child has an impact on the parents and the newly developed identity will not necessarily be approved by parents. Let’s just think of the subcultures created by modern adolescents to which the self socialized adolescents with newly found identities join in.

5. Psychoanalytical theory of personality

5.1. Theoretical background

Sigmund Freud created psychoanalysis based on his therapeutic experiences. Thus the theory cannot be separated from the psychotherapeutic method itself. In this respect his theory is unique and quite complex. Beside the psychoanalytical school, behaviourism was the other big psychological school of the era. While behaviourism traced everything back to the outer environment and didn’t care much about the inner world of the individual, the classical psychoanalysis explained the inner causes particularly those found in the subconscious mind of a person with regard to human personality to the same degree. The modern psychodynamic schools attribute great importance to early social relationships. In their interpretation the child’s personality is basically formed in early social connections as it is described by bonding theories and modern research in developmental psychology. The theory of Freud is a so called psychodynamic personality theory because it is based on the principle that humans have innate primal instincts, while the causes and forces determining behaviour are rooted in the subconscious. Consciousness is only a fraction of personality, and personality is characterised by dynamically changing interaction between forces, thus his theory is a dynamic theory. Freud’s findings can be well used even in today’s context in psychotherapy as they have practical importance.

5.2. Topographic model

Freud considered the so called libido development as the base for personality development which he described as sexual in nature, strong drive with biological basis. The libido (drive, tension) is attached to different objects and persons which serve as tools for satisfying needs. The aim of personality development is to turn the unrefined biological drives into higher standard human relationships (bonding, love) and meaningful activities. Fundamentally the psychoanalytic personality image differs from all the other theories. Within the frames of the so called topographic model personality is broken down into conscious, preconscious and subconscious components (Figure 6.) The conscious part is a mental area which we perceive in the current situation. The preconscious parts are contents related to consciousness which wilfully can be included in consciousness. However, subconscious part is an area which despite efforts cannot be made conscious, it’s not accessible directly as certain regularities in the psyche as well as operational methods block it. Nevertheless, the really important functioning of personality takes place in the subconscious mind. The subconscious domain is the area of desires related to anxiety and painful inner conflicts, our feelings and thoughts (Rhawn, 1980).

Figure 6.6. Figure 6.: The topographical model of Freudian consciousness

Figure 6.: The topographical model of Freudian consciousness

5.3. Structural model

Freud in a so called structural model (Freud, 1962) separated three further parts of personality (Figure 7) These are ego-instinct, ego, and super-ego. Of course there is no hierarchy among these parts in the sense that any of them would be more important or more valuable than the others. With regard to the stability of personality it is rather the balance of the three parts of personality that is important.

Figure 6.7. Figure 7.: The Feudian structural model of personality

Figure 7.: The Feudian structural model of personality

The ego-instinct includes the personality’s inherited primal instinctual aspects. It is completely unconscious and it has no connection to reality, it cannot differentiate between reality and imagination. A baby exists on this level while the other parts of the personality develop at later stages of life. The basic principle of existence is the pleasure principle (Freud, 1949), which means the immediate satisfaction of needs (for example: hunger, sexual desire), otherwise an unpleasant tense condition occurs. This tension in the case of a baby results in crying to which the mother responds and calms the child down. The instinct biological processes belong to the ego-instinct. It is responsible for the direct satisfaction of desires thus it is not its task to cope with objective reality. The other operational principle is ego instinct, the avoidance of pain according to which a human organism aims to experience as much pleasure as possible while experiencing as little pain as possible.

The ego is the part of personality which is connected to reality. Basically it helps the individual in realizing desires by taking impulses from the ego instinct, real expectations of the outside world, and the prohibitions of super-ego into consideration. The ego develops as a result of interactions with the environment (social and material). It helps pass down parental problem solving methods and delay satisfaction of desires in the context of mother and child (For example the desires of the growing child are satisfied by the mother gradually delaying it in order to get the child used to reality). Adequate motherly care can help the child to gradually endure tension deriving from delay and to adapt to reality. Thus the ego compared to the ego-instinct has the ability for realistic thinking, rational problem solving and employing tools necessary for making conclusions and planning various activities as well as adjusting the satisfaction of desires to realistic opportunities (Bergmann, 1980)

The super-ego represents the moral part of personality which is the value system coming from parents and society. It includes social rules and prohibitions taken over due to parental influence. The other two parts of super-ego are the ego ideal and conscience. The ego ideal includes the rules of adequate ideal behaviour. The ego connected to reality should aim at keeping these rules. The conscience includes the improper behaviour patterns which represent prohibitions and activities disapproved by the parents (Sederer and Seidenberg, 1976). The improper behaviour (or even thought or emotion) triggers the quiet and unpleasant feeling of guilt that belongs to the super ego which we try to avoid and would rather behave in accordance with accepted norms. Based on this the super-ego has three basic functions: 1. to block behaviours considered inappropriate by parents and society completely which (otherwise would try to manifest from the ego instincts), 2. to have an effect on the individual to encourage him to act on the basis of moral principles rather than the reality principle, 3. to try to guide the individual towards perfection. The child adopts the parent’s rules as the parent’s love is what the child finds most important and the child tries to avoid punishment and the withdrawal of love. As the child grows s/he adopts norms from other people from his/her environment but the norms fundamentally determining super-ego come from the parents.

5.4. Mental conflict

The ego must establish between the needs of the ego-instinct and the super instinct which both have entirely different needs and it is not easy (Stolar and Fromm, 1974), as the ego must realize the needs and desires coming from the ego instinct adjusting it to reality and in a way which is socially accepted. The pleasure principle and the reality principle quite often cannot be coordinated, thus the ego-instinct and the ego – understandably – often get into conflict with each other as the ego instinct wants the immediate satisfaction of desires, whereas the ego in accordance with the reality principle wants to delay it until more favourable conditions occur. The super-ego, based on the prohibitions coming from the ideals and norms, causes the feeling of guilt as a result of the behaviour considered improper, which, as being a painful feeling, we reasonably try to avoid as much as possible. This dynamic system is presented in Figure 8 in both topographic and structural model.

Figure 6.8. Figure 8.: Psychodinamic function of personality. Integration: topographic and structural model

Figure 8.: Psychodinamic function of personality. Integration: topographic and structural model

The prohibitions in the super-ego, which refer to the impulses and instincts based ambitions, can be either conscious or subconscious. If the balance between ego and instinct ego is upset, anxiety occurs, which requires various avoidance mechanisms in order to re-establish balance. Healthy personality requires the balance of the three parts of personality.

5.5. Phases of development

Freud conceptualized personality development as psychosexual development, and he considered the separation of body regions to sections dominated by psychosexual energy (libido) as the base of development. It is basically about the body region which attracts the child’s attention the most. These are:

  • Oral stage (age: 0-1.5 years)

    In this stage nutrition intake is in the centre of interest (breastfeeding) which is related to the region around the mouth. The oral region is a lot more sensitive, and the exaggerated satisfaction can result in fixation towards the behaviours of oral activity (alcohol consumption, smoking, exaggerated activity with regard to talking). The relationship between mother and child is characterized by the strong dependency of the child.

  • Anal stage (age: 1.5-3 years)

    This stage is the time of toilet training (controlling bowel movements). It is characterized by learning to regulate bodily functions, which is the first thing in life regulated by the child itself. Thus the basis of self control, self command and self assessment is developed. This is when performance and creativity begin. This is when the child first meets discipline and the ability for achievement appears. Anal personality traits are related to this stage: insistence on cleanliness and tidiness as well as uncleanliness and untidiness. It is characterised by stubbornness, obstinacy, gathering, meanness, and in case of pathological personality development compulsive behaviours.

  • The phallic-oedipus stage (age: 3-6 years)

    During the phallic stage the primary focus is on sexual interest. Children begin to discover the differences between males and females. The child begins to identify with the parent of the same sex. The boys are attached to their mother and they start to feel a hostile attitude towards their fathers (Oedipus complex) which is accompanied by anxiety (due to socially not accepted desires). The boy identifies with the father, hence resolving the mental conflict. The girls are attached to the mother and they are attracted to the father (Elektra complex). As a resolution of the conflict they identify with the mother. If the conflict cannot be resolved then in case of boys it can result in uncertainty in sexual identity, it can be accompanied by uncertain thoughts about men, over emphasized but immature attitude or suppressed and repressed sexual drive (

  • The latent period (age: 7-11 years)

    In this period the libido interests are suppressed and children enter into school and they become more concerned with school achievements and physical activity.

  • The genital stage (age: 11-20 years, from puberty to young adulthood)

    This stage is characterised by biological maturity, the revival of sexual interests dating partnerships, friendships and sexual identity becomes stronger. Efforts for independence, the development of independence in place of childhood dependence and the acquisition of adult status appear. In the development of behaviour patterns, value systems, attitudes and goals, peer relationships become more important than parental influence. This stage is also characterised by an increasing feeling of responsibility, respect for other people’s rights and the appearance of genital sex.

6. The crisis as development: psychosocial interactions - E. Erikson

6.1. Theoretical background

In the process of the aforementioned theories and theories of socialization and mental development crises are sometimes inevitable, which characterize not only childhood but also adulthood. The original meaning of crisis is turning point. It indicates such a change in the life of the individual which results in either enrichment of the personality creating a new quality or collapse. Critical periods are brought on by such significant situations or events in which the individual has no adequate solutions or tools for adaptation. In order to cope with the situation the individual must create new mechanisms which are integrated into the personality and will later provide help in similar situations. The normative crisis experienced during development results in the maturity of the personality, in other words the crisis itself is the process of change and personal development. Processing crisis which are often experienced in the case of unusual life events (so called accidental crisis) – significant traumas, catastrophes, becoming a victim, etc. – in fortunate cases this can result in developmental opportunities for the individual. The individual might even become more mature due to the post-traumatic condition, developing a superior value system and a different worldview. The model of the maturity of personality via crisis was developed by Erik Erikson.

The work of Erik Erikson has its roots in psychoanalysis and it is tied to the school of ego psychology. Compared to the classic Freudian analytical model, he considered personality development understandable when taking the close interaction between social and intrapsychic factors and processes into consideration. He considered development a lifelong process during which eight developmental stages can be identified (Figure 9). The stages are joined by critical periods (developmental crises), when the intensive development of personality takes place or the development can get stuck.

Figure 6.9. Figure 9.: Developmental stages of psychosocial growth (depicted by Erik Erikson)

Figure 9.: Developmental stages of psychosocial growth (depicted by Erik Erikson)

6.2. Phases of development, self - identity, developmental crisis

6.2.1. Characteristics of different stages of development (phases of development)
  • The development of personality is a continuous process from birth to death which takes place in succeeding phases

  • During development those characteristic features are stressed which refer to the personality’s age, interpersonal relations, activities and needs

  • The developing personality must meet the requirements of the new life stage (developmental task). To do that the personality must develop new qualities.

  • Development is the change of the individual’s identity

6.2.2. Self identity
  • Personality characteristics in each phase: Identity changes according to the process of development.

  • Continuity of the personality’s integrity in the past, present and future: Duality of the experience that the individual keeps changing, still it remains him or herself.

  • Identical personality: It is characterised by the consistency of the inner self concept.

6.2.3. Developmental crisis (psychosocial crisis, normative crisis, identity crisis)
  • The basic requirement of development is to resolve conflicts that occur during development as well as those developmental tasks which characterise the individual phases.

  • New life situations and new tasks require the creation of a new identity.

  • Switch between two phases (two identities) takes place in crisis situations and with temporary loss of balance

  • The result of the favourable resolution of the crisis will be the formation of an identity which possesses the characteristic of the next phase.

  • The outcome of the crisis (resolution) can be favourable or unfavourable and unsuccessful with regard to the integration and the maturity of the personality (identical self or the disturbance of identity)

  • Developmental crisis is the integration process of personality.

6.3. Eight phases of developmental tasks and the outcome of the developmental crises

1. Oral-sensory phase (age: 0-2)

The infant lives in a psychophysiological-psychological symbiosis with the mother. Being born into a family the infant changes the family’s life. Through motherly care the infant must experience the availability of help, care and love in the world. The quality of motherly care transmits the first experiences of the world. In case of favourable experiences the infant will develop trust and optimism towards the world and others whereas contradictory and uncertain care can lead to distrust.

2. Muscular-anal phase (age: 2-3)

During the process of toilet training the child learns to regulate bodily functions (retention and release). Willpower develops and there is conflict between the will of the child and that of the parents. The child encounters rules, expectations, order and discipline. S/he experiences social pressure but is capable of making decisions. As a result of expectations and positive feedback, autonomy, self control and the feeling of living up to expectations develop. However, negative feedback and punishment lead to shame and doubt in his/her own competence.

3. Locomotor-genital phase (age: 3-5)

Childhood sexual interest arises which is regulated by the parents. Conscience develops. The child explores space, time and imagination through playing and as an addition the concepts of intension and goal appears too. Identification with gender and social roles take place during playing. Prototypes of ideals appear. The favourable outcome of the developmental crisis results in the initiation of the child’s own activities as well as the ability of planning and implementation. In an unfavourable case the feeling of guilt can develop in opposition with the child’s own intensions.

4. The phase of latency (age: 6-11)

Achievements in studying have primary importance, which are judged by people outside of the family. During activities with peers the child learns the skills of social interaction. The child receives reinforcement in skills and s/he has to receive feedback. Favourable experiences lead to diligence and the development of competence (in intellectual, social and physical abilities). Unfavourable experiences can lead to the development of inferiority complex.

5. Adolescence (teenage years)

Changes occur in physical development. The child must give up his childhood lifestyle. The initial elements of different aspects of social roles in later lives appear. The child must face the duality of how s/he can see him or herself and how s/he is seen by society: congruency or the lack of it (what am I like and how am I seen by others).The child switches from childhood existence to adulthood: being accepted into the adult’s world, making friends and the role of ideals. The child observes the roles of men and women which leads to the strengthening and practice of sexual identity. The child must choose a career. The favourable outcome can result in self identity which means that there is an integrated picture of him or herself. In case of unfavourable outcome: role diffusion, i.e. the elements of self concept can remain contradictory and separate. Early closure can occur, which means that the child does not choose the relevant roles (for example: choosing a career) in compliance with the expectations and personal needs.

6. Young adulthood (twenties)

Social and genital maturity. Ability for intimacy: developing an intimate relationship with the other sex. There is mutuality in sexuality and orgasm and accepting love. The individual can recognize boundaries and has an ability to remain in control. There is commitment towards the chosen career. Intimacy represents a favourable outcome. The individual is capable of developing strong and permanent bonds. In unfavourable cases crisis can result in isolation.

7. Adulthood (up to the fifties)

Love and intimacy: conceiving and raising children and looking after the next generation. Creativity and joy in work. Establishment of personal security in favourable cases and caring for the family, society and the next generation. Unfavourable outcome: stagnation and standstill.

8. Maturity (from the fifties)

Active preparation for old age. Facing the forthcoming end of life and death. Looking back on the life path and drawing up a balance. Retirement from work, losing loved ones. Accepting individual existence and life path. Favourable outcome: self integrity. Feeling of fulfilment and being content with life, willingness to face death. The individual who doesn’t except his/her life path and who is dissatisfied with his/her life recognizes that life is going to end soon and there are not many opportunities left to start over again to correct or to consider and understand life as a unit and accept it. Unfavourable outcome of the crisis can be despair and rejection of forthcoming death.

7. Humanistic approach

7.1. Theoretical introduction

The humanistic concepts of personality were formed as a critique of the two big traditional psychological schools of psychoanalysis and classic behaviourism to create a “third way”. They wanted to compensate for the pessimism and determination of psychoanalysis as well as the concept of humanity based on physiological, oversimplifying automatisms of early behaviourism. Thus they studied the issue of getting acquainted with humanity from a viewpoint in which psychology has to answer the question of what good aspects can be found in humans. The humanistic concept of humanity seeks opportunities in humans to be able to experience existence, to become complete, to find every possible option, values and positive aspects. In this subchapter the work of two famous humanist psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow is discussed.

7.2. The theory of Carl Rogers

According to Carl Rogers (1959) – who primarily contributed to psychotherapy with his person centred approach – people are born with the ability of being able to keep their own development on the path of being healthy by aiming to reach completeness, which is called self-actualization by Rogers. Every person automatically values his/her deeds and experiences from a viewpoint whether or not they have encouraged self-actualization. If they haven’t then disturbing feelings can occur, which indicate that something is wrong. In his concept of personality this theory does not describe a certain kind of personality but it suggests a method of functioning, which mainly represents positive attitudes and which can be acquired by anybody. The basic assumptions of Rogers’ person centred approach: the individual is capable of doing something for his/her well-being and is capable of taking responsibility for him or herself. (Figure 10)

Figure 6.10. Figure 10.: Basic assumptions of person centred approach (by Carl Rogers)

Figure 10.: Basic assumptions of person centred approach (by Carl Rogers)

7.3. The theory of Abraham Maslow

Another outstanding person of the humanistic personality approach is Abraham Maslow, who, similarly to Rogers, considered self-actualization as the peak of individual life. Maslow (1970) summarized human needs in a hierarchical pyramid (Figure 11) in which the levels of needs starting from basic vital needs for survival proceed towards specific human needs increasing hierarchically and only the highest human need is self-actualized.

The individual’s developmental model based on motivations and inner needs represents a useful tool concerning the understanding of maturity and blossoming of personality. According to health psychology the level of motivation of the individual represents a good base for changes in behaviour. Motivation provides a drive for development and goal-directed behaviour thus ultimately the well-being, the harmony and the blossoming of the individual. According to Maslow the needs occurring in individuals (deficiencies as well as the need for development) create tension. The aim of the motivated action is to satisfy needs thus preserve the balanced state and the feeling of comfort. The tensions in people are caused by unfulfilled needs and the frustrations of the motivated behaviour. The permanently unfulfilled needs result in anxiety, unhappiness and incomplete life.

Figure 6.11. Figure 11.: The hierarchic order of needs (by Maslow)

Figure 11.: The hierarchic order of needs (by Maslow)

Needs are organized into different hierarchical order (Maslow’s pyramid of needs, Figure 11).

  1. Deficiency needs. On the bottom level of the hierarchy structure those fundamental, biological-physiological needs can be found which are necessary for sustaining life and they provide safety and protection for the individual. Physiological needs are food, water, air, rest, sexuality, etc. The needs of safety are the need for physical security and protection. On the next level there is the need for belonging to others or to somewhere as well as the need for love and being loved, moreover the need for self esteem and respect by others (psychological needs). The characteristic of deficiency needs is that by achieving them and satisfying them tension in the individual can be reduced.

  2. Growth needs. On the highest level of the hierarchy there are those needs which ensure the growth, the blossoming and the completion of the individual: knowledge, cognition and exploration; needs for order, beauty and symmetry; all in all the need for self-actualization and self fulfilment (a more detailed description of the needs of Maslow’s pyramid is shown in Figure 12)

Figure 6.12. Figure 12.: Explication of the hierarchy of needs

Figure 12.: Explication of the hierarchy of needs

Self-actualization is the key concept of Maslow (Figure 13). It describes the process in which the individual can develop and realize his/her full potential. The self-actualizing individual is reality oriented, spontaneous, problem-centred, creative, independent and s/he accepts him or herself and others. On the peak of self actualization there is transcendence. The individual, from time to time, is able to exceed – to transcend – the level of direct experience and is capable of living through such special and spiritual experiential states, which are described as comprehensive feeling of completeness, quite often as becoming one with the universe. The transcendental peak experiences are accompanied by such qualities of experiences which cannot be described on the level of everyday reality and which help to elaborate a personal response to the issue of the meaning of existence (Maslow, 1963)

Figure 6.13. Figure 13.: Self-actualization

Figure 13.: Self-actualization

Not everybody reaches the level of self-actualization. The common personality traits of these kinds of people are summarized in Figure 14.

Figure 6.14. Figure 14.: Characteristics of self-actualization

Figure 14.: Characteristics of self-actualization

Animation 1.

Animation 1.

The hierarchical array of needs by Maslow raises the question of who is considered to be a person with a mature personality. The next subchapter intends to answer this question.

8. The mature personality

The approach of the issue of mature or healthy personality is the closest to the humanistic approach. At the same time Allport, for example, drew the same conclusion as humanistic psychologists. Based on one of the theories, a person with a healthy personality is somebody who doesn’t differ from the socially expected norms in his/her behaviour and none of the personality traits are exaggerated. Based on the other theory – accepted by Allport himself – a healthy or mature personality is much rather an ideal or achievable target which is such a human achievement which can be realized by a few. Allport reached the description of a mature personality with the help of personality psychology rather than clinical experiences. Allport claims that all personality traits are highly individualized and unique (Allport, 1937), despite the fact that there are several common personal qualities shared by several people (Chaplin and Krawiec, 1968).

Allport defined the following criteria of the mature personality: precise perception about reality, effective goal oriented activity, application of cognitive operations in problem-solving, economic maturity, appropriate self evaluation, reliability, trustworthiness, tolerance, good interpersonal communication, adaptation and the ability to elaborate on things. It is a life path which is arranged along a chosen long term goal. When choosing a career commitment and value oriented approaches are the determining factors (Figure 15), (Allport, 1955). It is important to stress that maturity depends on experience and not on age. Allport also stressed that a mature personality is task oriented; s/he considers work and responsibility to be an important part of life (Allport, 1961).

Figure 6.15. Figure 15.: The matured behaviour and personality traits (by Allport)

Figure 15.: The matured behaviour and personality traits (by Allport)

Rogers (1961) defines a mature personality with the term of fully functioning person, which, according to him is not a goal but a process. According to Rodgers self-actualization is a complicated and painful process which puts the individual to the test and makes him face continuous challenges. An individual in the process of self-actualization is completely him or herself and the individual cannot do anything which wouldn’t correspond with him or herself. In other words the individual is genuine and open to new experiences (Rogers, 1961).

9. Personality theories with regard to trait theories

9.1. Historical background

The development of personality theories with regard to trait theories was inspired by its usefulness in clinical practice. Contrary to the aforementioned theories it is not related to any of the comprehensive psychological approaches but it studies the dimensions of personality from an experiential viewpoint and it intends to verify the fundamental dimensions of personality with the use of statistical tools. There is nothing new about trying to group people according to various personality types. For example Hippocrates in the ancient times (around 400 B.C.) defined four types of people based on body fluids. These are choleric (irritable) melancholic (low spirited) and sanguine (optimistic) phlegmatic (calm). Hippocrates associated the melancholic type with black bile, the choleric type with yellow bile, the sanguine type with blood and the phlegmatic type with mucus in a sense that these body fluids have an impact on the personality traits associated with them.

9.2. Methodology of trait theories

During the last century several researchers were trying to find the answer to the question of what the main traits are that personality consists of. Allport and Odbert (1936) identified about 18,000 such attributes of quality (words) with the method of factor analysis which referred to a personal quality (they used the English dictionary). Afterwards Cattell further developed the work of Allport and his colleagues. His starting point was that human behaviour can be defined by personality traits but these traits must be defined empirically. The number of words used for a given personality trait varies and it corresponds with the importance of that personality trait. Due to the aforementioned factors, Cattell, based on Allport’s results, separated 4500 traits with the use of factor analysis. These, in an extensive research which included several thousand people, were reduced to 16 fundamental factors. These can captivate the essentials of personality.

9.3. Cattell’s sixteen personality factors

Cattell (1965) described sixteen personality factors by which a personality can be essentially defined (Figure 16). According to Cattell these are the primary personality traits for which he developed the 16PF questionnaire in order the measure them (Cattell et al, 1977). According to the trait theory personality traits are characteristic of everybody but they have an individualized pattern.

Figure 6.16. Figure 16.: Cattell’s sixteen personality factors

Figure 16.: Cattell’s sixteen personality factors

9.4. Eysenck’s personality theory

According to Eysenck personality is the summary of factors deriving from genetic inheritance which describe a person during the lifetime and in which individual differences can be observed. Deriving from the theories of Hippocrates he differentiates unstable traits which involve strong emotions at the same time (choleric and melancholic) as well as more stable traits which involve less ardent emotions (sanguine and phlegmatic). Based on this he also differentiates between people with stable emotional traits and unstable emotional traits. People with stable emotions are characterized by calmness, they are controlled, slow and they have a balanced emotional life. Those with unstable emotions are anxious, are capable of extreme responses and can be irrational (Eysenck, 1967). He also differentiates between extroverted and introverted traits. The typically extroverted person is sociable with the need of always being in somebody’s company, s/he doesn’t like to be alone, finds activities important, likes excitement, is a thrill seeker, is impulsive, likes changes, is optimistic, tends to be aggressive and has low self-control. A typically introverted person is reserved, likes to be alone, has few friends, is quiet, thinks and plans ahead, takes things seriously, is not spontaneous, has a high level of self control, is trustworthy, is rather pessimistic and has high ethical standards (Eysenck, 1967). A personality trait which is characteristic of an individual can be positioned anywhere between the end points of a continuum. According to Eysenck the two dimensions behind are introversion-extroversion and emotional stability-instability (or neuroticism-normality) which, similarly to a coordinate system can be described in a two dimensional system (Figure 17) (Eysenck, 1975).

Figure 6.17. Figure 17.: The two dimensional depiction of Eysenckian personality theory

Figure 17.: The two dimensional depiction of Eysenckian personality theory

Eysenck did research on which neurobiological factors can cause individual differences. Based on his results discrepancies in individual personalities are caused by the inherited factors of the ARAS system (ascending reticular activating system ( Therefore personality traits are not inherited directly but it is a certain kind of activity of the nervous system which is inherited. With regard to individual differences the activity level of the ARAS system is higher in case of introverted people that is why these people are more reserved. This is because the ARAS system results in a higher level of inner activity (higher arousal) due to which the person will not seek stimuli in the outside world (Eysenck, 1967, Eysenck and Eysenck, 1985). The theory of Eysenck of the ARAS system corresponds with the aforementioned innate temperament qualities.

9.5. Big five-universal personality dimension

Following the research of the past decades personality psychologist have come to an agreement regarding those fundamental personality dimensions which can be considered universal regardless of culture and it seems that they describe such fundamental characteristics of the human race which are mainly biologically and genetically determined. (Figure 18)

Figure 6.18. Figure 18.: The BIG FIVE personality dimensions and factors

Figure 18.: The BIG FIVE personality dimensions and factors

10. Personality disorders

The maladaptive (badly adjusted) personality traits have only recently been referred to as personality disorders, which are basically mental illnesses. There were attempts to categorize maladaptive personality traits in order to make interpretation easier. At present DSM-IV describes ten different personality disorders. These have been divided into three separate groups. Group A (eccentric disorders) includes paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders. Group B (dramatic disorders) includes antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic personality disorders. Group C (anxiety disorders) includes avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.

About 10-20% percent of the population is affected by some kind of personality disorder which means that these people meet the criteria of one or more personality disorders. DSM-IV gives the following definition for abnormal personality: “It is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture. It causes significant suffering and the deterioration of social and occupational functioning. It can have an onset in childhood and adolescence and it exhibits lasting effects in adulthood persisting through entire life.” (APA. 1997). Genetic, biological, developmental psychological and socio-cultural factors all play a role in the development of personality disorders (Döme, 2001). Among the socio-cultural factors mainly the quality of care received in childhood for example negligence (Parker and Asher, 1987) or aggressive parental pattern (Loeber and Dishion, 1983) are those factors which play a role in the development of personality disorders. Personality disorders can usually already be recognized in adolescence and they are constantly present in adulthood too (APA. 1997). Changes in personality which develop in adulthood refer to such disorders which can be associated with the deterioration of the state of health, drug abuse or the development of serious mental illnesses. In general, personality disorders can lead to disorders in several areas of life, for example disorders of interpersonal relationships (Kiesler, 1986). People suffering from specific personality disorders can be prone to dependency, isolation, loneliness and anxiety. However, several such patients are not bothered by their own maladaptive traits and behaviour, but those, living in the patient’s surroundings are bothered (McLemore and Brokaw, 1987). Despite this, it is a common characteristic for all those suffering from a personality disorder that the disorder causes them severe difficulties both in social and occupational adaptation. The reason behind it is that in most cases patients ask for help from a professional not because of their illness but because of crisis situation or other accompanying mental and behavioural disorders as well as social and occupational problems. According to several professionals, psychotherapy of those suffering from a personality disorder is quite often a long lasting and challenging task even if personality disorders can be very diverse.

(Detailed description of personality disorders can be found in Chapter 5.3.)

11. Summary

The various personality theories differ from each other significantly whilst at the same time they also show similarities. We cannot state that any of them would describe personality “perfectly”. So it is not appropriate to ask the question which theory describes personality perfectly. It is much rather the synthesis of the various approaches which helps us see the big picture as we have to take into consideration the fact that the researchers created their personality theories within the frame of practical and theoretical approaches. This eclecticism can be useful as it provides a bigger perspective in order to understand a phenomenon. The various personality theories mutually support each others.

Test questions

  1. According to Allport personality is:

    1. dynamically organized

    2. statically organized

    3. does not create individual patterns of thought and behaviour

  2. Temperament is

    1. basically genetically determined

    2. basically determined by the social environment

    3. it is determined by both genetics and the environment

  3. The most important component of mother-child relationship is

    1. the mother’s ability to react and her sensitivity

    2. the mother’s ability to understand the child’s mental states

    3. both

  4. Infants with easy temperaments

    1. don’t need the mother’s closeness too much

    2. can be calmed down relatively quickly

    3. reduce the mother’s feeling of competence

  5. With regard to the inner regulation of the infant it is important

    1. that the mother should show positive emotions

    2. that the development of self takes place

    3. both

  6. Early bonding

    1. has no effect on the ability of bonding in later life

    2. does not presume mutuality between mother and child

    3. none of the above

  7. Child raising habits can influence

    1. nothing as they are not passed down from generation to generation

    2. individual mental development

    3. both

  8. According to the social learning theory

    1. personality development is not essentially influenced by socialization

    2. personality is permanent and stable

    3. personality develops with the help of congenital aptitudes

  9. According to social learning theory

    1. reward does not play a role in following established models

    2. the ability for empathy is nearly the same in every person

    3. the ability for empathy is important in observational learning

  10. In the theory of psychoanalysis in the functioning of personality

    1. the subconscious mind doesn’t play an important role

    2. the super-ego includes moral rules

    3. the super-ego is responsible for keeping in touch with reality

  11. In the developmental phases of the theory of psychoanalysis

    1. the anal phase is connected with nutrition

    2. the oedipal phase has no acceptable solution

    3. the oral phase is connected to breast feeding

  12. In the theory of Erikson

    1. crisis helps personality maturity

    2. the process of maturing continues up to young adulthood

    3. individual crisis situations can be solved without new methods of resolution

  13. According to Carl Rogers

    1. self acceptance is easier if other people see us differently than we are

    2. self acceptance is easier if others accept us as well

    3. none of the above

  14. According to Maslow

    1. the level of self-actualization can be reached by anyone

    2. the satisfaction of needs is a universal human need

    3. both

  15. In the personality theory of Eysenck

    1. individual differences are caused by inherited discrepancies in the ARAS system

    2. Individual differences are caused by discrepancies in the ARAS system occurring during the process of socialization

    3. The ARAS system does not play any role in individual differences


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[154] Ainsworth and Wittigh observed 1 to 2-year-old children in a playing situation. Children had to play in the presence of the mother then a stranger appeared and was present in addition to the mother. After that the mother left the room and only the stranger stayed. After a while the mother returned. Based on the children’s behaviour three different bonding types were identified (Aimsworth and Barbara Wittigh, 1969).

[155] The topic of bonding is discussed in details in Chapter 2.10.